Vol.XIX No.I Pg.6
March 1982

Jacobs God

Robert F. Turner

Jacob knew God's name from childhood, but he did not "see" Jehovah as he is. Jacob's god — his view of God — must be changed before "the supplanter" (Jacob will ever become a "ruler with God" (Israel).

Jacob's god was territorial. Jacob awakes from a dream in the desert and declares in surprise, "Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not... this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven" (Gen. 28:16-). He thought he left God at home, but Jehovah is not the "God of the hills" (1 King. 20:23). He is God of the Texas hills and the Colorado mountains, of the beaches of Florida and the frozen northland of Alaska, of America and China. What changes occur when men realize this! Men on a job assignment in a distant city will worship and serve just as they did at home. Soldiers on station in some remote country will study, pray, and live godly. Vacationers at an isolated resort will not forget decency and righteousness. All know they are yet in God's domain. Our God is Lord over the whole earth, and his eyes everywhere behold good and evil.

Jacob's god was carnal. He tried to bargain with God and to bribe him. "If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God "(Gen. 28:20. What audacity! What ignorance! Man thinks to barter with God, but negotiating only works if you have something the other party needs. And God is not dependent on man; He rather supplies all man's needs (Act. 17:25). Moreover, God will not be satisfied with a kick-back, a tip, a tithe. He demands no less than all a man has and is (Rom. 12:1). And about terms, they are non-negotiable, and God sets all the conditions — "If you will... then shall ye be my people." No haggling! "Let me first bury my father." "Let me bid them farewell at home." "Come down from the cross and we will believe." "Show us a sign." But God's kingdom is not made of such horse-traders. Unconditional surrender and unquestioning obedience is the only offer God has for us. Righteous and gracious is Jehovah who rules us.

Jacob's god is weak. Thus, Jacob "helps" God by taking advantage of Esau in the pottage deal, by deceiving his blind father with a goatskin, and manipulating the cattle breeding (Gen. 25:29- 30:43). God needed no help — especially such dishonest tactics. "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" (Gen. 18:14). Abraham had offered to adopt an heir, and Sarah had offered her handmaid to produce an heir lest God's promise fail. God rejected the "help" and provided an heir as he had promised. God is "able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think" (Eph. 3:20). We cast aside worry and seek first God's kingdom and righteousness (Mt. 6:33) because we trust in his power to provide as he promised. In faith, we pray expecting to receive (Jas. 1:5,6; 5:16). Jehovah is strong to deliver and is faithful to keep his promises.

Is yours Jacob's god or Israel's God?

Joe Fitch 6326 Peacepipe; San Antonio, TX